Earlier this month we had the pleasure of visiting one of Glasgow’s newest musical hotspots; Container Studios. Born in 2021 during lockdown, the custom-designed space was one of the few positives to come from an unprecedented time when raving as we knew it was drawn to a complete halt.
Kitted out with the latest industry standard DJing equipment, including Pioneer’s flagship CDJ-3000s, Technics 1210s and a variety of mixers such as the DJM-900NXS2 and Allen & Heath’s Xone:96, it’s safe to say the studio has all the bells & whistles a DJ could need. Combine this with the shipping container aesthetic, located in an industrial site and you’ve got a truly unique set up.
Helmed by former promoter, DJ and certified industry nice guy; David Howie, his ambition for what started as a personal project is to create something which is more than just an empty room with some DJ decks. Instead, Container Studios will provide a creative hub for artists and act as a community for DJs, producers, promoters and ravers alike to come together.
We sat down with Davie to find out more about his uniquely placed studio, how it came to be and what the future holds.
It’s a really unique set up here. How did you go about picking the location? Were you specifically looking for a shipping container style set up ?
The location was easy because I already run another business from here. The whole idea came about during lockdown – we suddenly had lots of empty containers which doesn’t usually happen. One of my colleagues also DJs and we just came up with the idea as we weren’t working, so thought let’s get a set of decks and shove them in a container. It started off as a bit of a laugh and turned out to be a great location for an underground studio.
I can imagine it took a while to get the sound quality fine-tuned, with the studio being in a metal container. How did you go about doing it?
When we started it as just a bit of fun it was literally just a metal container, there was no soundproofing to it. After we decided to turn it into a full time business we spent months researching equipment and had to get special materials imported which were personally designed for the studio. Once the room was built, we brought a sound engineer in and they placed microphones all around the room to find any points where there were problem frequencies. That resulted in us having to move the speakers back five inches which fixed one of the problems. We went through more of this for months testing the sound before opening.
How has the pandemic impacted the studio?
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, the studio wouldn’t be here. It’s been a terrible thing for a lot of people, but this has been one of the positives as it’s been a hub to get people in the electronic music scene together, get people talking, get them collaborating. As we’ve started to be let back out the house and allowed to met each other again, this has been a safe place for people to come and share their ideas.
If you could sum up the studio in three words what would they be?
Changed my life. It’s not just been good for DJs and musicians in Glasgow but for me personally, doing something I love for a full time job is incredible.
What’s your dream artist to have come down and play at the studio?
My dream artist to play is probably one that we got very close to recently which is Speedy J. I’ve been a lifelong fan, back in the day I was buying his vinyl 25 years ago and I got the opportunity to meet him in Glasgow just a few weeks ago. I told him about the studio and he was very interested – had loads of questions. He revealed he was actually going to buy a shipping container to build a studio. I asked why he never went ahead with it, and he said he found a nuclear bunker for sale and bought that instead!
I can imagine you’ve made some great memories (and had long nights) here. What’s been your favourite moment so far since opening Container Studio?
We started putting on very small events, mainly to film videos in a boiler room style way – a bit like an underground party, but fully licensed. One of the biggest DJs in Glasgow is Quail who runs Animal Farm events, he’s like the techno guy in Glasgow. Someone told him about the studio, he came down to see it and wanted to put a night on here. To have someone like that who’s been at the forefront of the Glasgow techno scene for 20 years come down and play in our studio to an audience of 35 people was incredible.
Do you have any future plans or ambitions for the studio?
We’ve got huge plans for the studio. We’re gonna expand and have another studio coming in the next few weeks. We’re also building production studios, we’ve got some underway already which are private production studios but there will be one coming on an hourly hire basis – fully set up for producers to come in and do their thing.
One of the biggest plans is expanding the video channel. That’s been very popular as it’s helping to promote people, and we’re managing to attract big names to come in and do these videos so we’ve actually now separated it out with it’s own Instagram and Youtube. Still very much connected, but it means we can have the studio as our Glasgow business and the video channel can be UK wide, Europe wide maybe even worldwide, who knows. We think it’s gonna be huge, so the biggest plan is gonna be pushing that and letting the world see these amazing artists.
Anything exciting coming up in the pipeline for you and the studio in the next few months?
One’s just come through which I can’t talk about just yet. What I’ll say is, so far all the videos have been filmed inside the studio, but I had a plan to start filming outside the studio under our brand name but going to techno nightclubs. Literally just this afternoon we got a message from a promoter who’s putting a big night on and they want us to go in and film it. We’re gonna use the footage for our video channel and call it “Un-contained”.
One of the coolest spaces we’ve visited for a long time, and a genuine, highly knowledgeable team behind what will no doubt be the go-to studio in Glasgow. Don’t just take our word for it, get yourself over there.